Candidate

So you have a new job. Congratulations! Now comes the tricky work of getting away from your old job. It may seem clear cut but quitting your job is a complicated business, whether you’ve had problems there or it was mostly smooth sailing.

It all comes down to people. You need to tie things up neatly with the people with whom you worked, because you will surely come across one or more of them again further along in your career. And it’s usually the one you least expect! Even if you don’t end up being interviewed by them at another firm, or relying on them sending some business your way, your future career will be intertwined with your ex-colleagues. People write references. But people also talk. Welcome to your career: everyone is connected.

Making things cool with your boss

So you figured out you need to tell your boss leaving. But even that part is not as simple as it looks. There are official ways to go about it, and there is unofficial etiquette that you should follow.

The latter comes first. Before you hand in that official letter of resignation, arrange to meet your boss face-to-face to tell them what’s going on. A letter alone is pretty cold. You worked for and with this person: do them the courtesy of making the announcement privately before the rumor spreads around the office or you submit a formal letter.

When you arrange to have this conversation, it is also worth being prepared. You may end have an ‘exit interview’ before you depart, or this conversation may end up being the closest thing. You should be ready to calmly answer a few questions in a polite and organized way, even if you hate your boss and you can’t wait for your final day.

Figure out:

  • The reason you’re leaving – but keep it brief and to the point.
  • How much notice you’re giving.
  • Something to say about what you enjoyed in your role.
  • Constructive criticism in case you’re asked what you didn’t like about the job.

Even if you’ve had run-ins with your boss before, showing that you’ve thought constructively about your job and that you are able to remain professional towards those around you will reflect well. Nobody knows quite where they’ll be in five years, but if you can give smart, sensible answers to the questions of why you’re quitting and where you’re going, it will inform your boss’s lasting impression of you.

Stay a little longer

You will probably be contracted to work a certain amount of notice, and there are not many good reasons not to do so. In fact, you could get in trouble if you leave before your notice is up. But did you know there can be good reasons to give more notice than is necessary?

Depending on when your next job begins, it may be useful all around to stay a few extra days or weeks beyond the minimum. If your team is in the middle of a huge project, it is both professionally and personally thoughtless to just walk away. If you must, try to figure out the best moment to do so, or a solution for the gap you’re leaving.

It can also be good manners to stay a few extra days to train your replacement and hand over files and permissions. This has the added advantage that you’re getting to meet the new ‘you’ – somebody with a comparable career path who could be important to you later if you help them out now!

But, finally, there’s no point going that extra mile or making things good for your boss if you’re just going to run out your days doing half a job. Work even harder in your final weeks so that the last impression you leave on your boss and workmates alike is a positive one. You never know when your paths might cross again.

Ready to begin the process? Now you understand the spirit of a good resignation, check out this new infographic running through the practical steps you need to quit without burning your bridges.

About the author: John Cole writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.

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